Writers Guild Calls Strike Authorization Vote Amid Hollywood Studio Talks

A man with "writer" printed on the back

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Writers Guild of America announced Monday its members will take part in a strike-authorization vote amid labor negotiations with Hollywood studios, raising fears of a potentially crippling work stoppage.

The strike-authorization vote will be conducted online April 11-17. If union members vote in favor, it gives the union the authority to call a strike once its current contract with the studios ends on May 1. The vote does not automatically mean a strike will occur.

"The studios need to respond to the crisis writers face," the union stated on its Twitter page Monday in announcing plans for the vote. "WGA members must demonstrate our willingness to fight for the contract writers need and deserve by supporting a strike authorization vote.

"... Over the past decade, the companies have embraced business practices that slashed our compensation and undermined our working conditions. We are asking to restore writer pay & conditions to reflect our value to this industry. The survival of our profession is at stake."

Officials with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, could not be reached for immediate comment.

The WGA is pushing for increases in pay and residuals -- particularly over streaming content.

The WGA last went on strike in 2007-08, remaining off the job for 100 days. That strike was precipitated over compensation for what was then termed "new media," with Internet streaming beginning to reshape the entertainment landscape.

Various estimates from different organizations estimated that the strike cost the local economy between $2 billion and $3 billion as production ground to a halt.

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